American Property Owners Alliance: Honoring Influential Women in Housing

Throughout America’s history, influential women have shaped the housing opportunities, social services, and vibrant communities we have today. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is recognizing three female leaders who took a stand to create essential resources for those in need and build diverse and resilient communities.

Catherine Bauer was an influential leader in the fight for affordable housing. Her forward-thinking approach to housing policy led her to be the primary author for America’s first affordable housing legislation — the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. Bauer influenced housing and urban planning strategies throughout the terms of three different United States presidents.1

Patricia Roberts Harris made history as the first African American woman to hold a cabinet position when she was appointed to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1977. As HUD Secretary, Harris brought aid to deteriorating neighborhoods and worked to bring business back to impoverished areas.2 Harris was known for her leadership in battling housing discrimination and rehabilitating neighborhoods.

Jane Jacobs was a writer and activist who championed a community-based approach to city planning. In Jacob’s 1961 treatise, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, she claimed, “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”3 Jacobs was known for her innovative approach to building vibrant communities that prioritized parks and public spaces that served the needs of residents.

These are just a few of the influential women who have or are improving America’s housing opportunities through advocacy and forward-thinking policy. It’s up to us to continue the mission to make housing more accessible and equitable. The Alliance is a nonpartisan, nonprofit that advocates for public policies that support property ownership and strengthen communities. If you’re interested in supporting this mission, join our efforts today.